Our Top 12 Thai Desserts that you must try in Thailand
The five flavors of Thai food may be sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter, but today it’s all about the sweets. Although the assortment of Thai desserts is staggering, they mostly revolve around syrups, coconuts, fruits and sticky rice.
We have compiled a list of our personal favorites, which was harder to do than we initially thought. Having a sweet tooth, certainly, didn’t make it any easier… Some of them we feature more prominently but you can bet all of these lovely calorie bombs make our mouths water. Without any further jibber-jabber, here is our oh-so-sweet selection of twelve desserts in Thailand you definitely have to try.
Mango/Durian Sticky Rice
Look, we have dedicated an entire post to the sticky goodness of this dish. Still, we couldn’t write a list of our favorite Thai desserts without mentioning it. Fresh mango slices over a hot portion of glutinous rice (as in ‘gluey’ or glue’. It doesn’t contain any gluten.) topped off with thick coconut milk – simplicity, indeed, is brilliance. In bigger cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai, some vendors offer the rice in different colors to mix it up a little.
Speaking of mixing it up a little, let’s replace our beloved mango with the… not-so-beloved durian fruit. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Only recently, we have tried it in Bangkok where a tiny stall serves it in coconut soup. The sweetness of the soup in combination with the rice and the strong flavor of the durian – to put it mildly – worked surprisingly well. Although, we have to admit we still prefer the OG.
- Bamboo Sticky Rice: This sticky rice is mixed with black beans and coconut cream, which is then roasted in bamboo poles giving it a subtle smoked flavor. When it’s ready the poles are then hacked lengthwise and you scoop the rice out of the bamboo.
- Sticky Rice in Banana Leaves: It’s simply sticky rice with black beans in coconut milk wrapped in a banana leaf. It’s great as a takeaway.
- Sticky Rice With Custard: It is exactly what you think it is. The custard-rice mixture comes in small portions and is wrapped in banana leaves. This makes it perfect a snack, but, goodness gracious, don’t overindulge in them like I once did… #foodcoma
- Fried Banana with Roasted Rice: As if fried bananas are not already enough of a guilty pleasure, let’s put roasted rice with coconut syrup into the mix as well! This is for foodies who prefer a crunchier taste and, oh boy, is it good.
Thai Roti (Pancakes!)
Next to Mango Sticky Rice, this is the most popular Thai dessert you will find on every street corner and every market. The maestro takes a piece of dough, flattens it with a few precise movements and puts it on a hot plate with a piece of butter. What you want to have in and on your roti is up to you. You can never go wrong with the classic that includes slices of banana and has condensed milk drizzled all over it. But you can also have it with Nutella, chocolate sauce (long live Hershey’s), honey, an egg, and so much more. Curry, for example, is an option for someone who enjoys the crispness of the roti, but not the sweetness of the usual variety. Once your pancake is ready, the vendor will cut it into bite-sized pieces and you can finally stop drooling. You wouldn’t be the first one to do so… #guilty.
Here’s a little fun fact: Although you will find these rotis all over Thailand, they are particularly popular in the southern part of the Kingdom. This is because the sort of flatbread that is used is similar to the Muslim roti served in Malaysia. The origin of the first roti, however, is in no other country than India, where it’s called a parota. The more you know…
Sweet Thai Crêpe: Thank you, France, for these tasty, thin pancakes. This Thai version looks like a tiny Taco due to its shape and is filled with meringue (whipped egg whites and sugar) and shredded egg yolk. A nice little treat.
Coconut Ice Cream
“Coconuts? Coconuts are healthy, right?” Yes, they are, son, they are… usually. But we are not here to make healthy decisions anyway, so f*ck it.
From all the Thai desserts you can choose from, this is the one to beat to heat. You can either have just the ice cream or add a topping of your choice. Peanuts taste amazing with it, but there is also sweet corn and a selection of sticky syrups. The best thing about the ice cream, however, is the presentation as it comes in a scraped out coconut shell. Can’t get any more tropical than that, right?
By far the best coconut ice cream we have ever had is the one from the Chatuchak Market. We can’t really give any directions since this is virtually impossible. But, in our experience, they are all great.
Ice Cream Sandwich: Do you like dem buns? We hope you do because your ice cream will be squeezed into one of them together with sticky rice, peanuts, and condensed milk. If all the other desserts are calories bombs than this thing is the “Fat Boy”.
If we continue our sweet crusade at this pace, we soon will also be jelly…
In Thailand, these jellies are made of sugar, coconut milk, and tapioca flour and then sliced into little squares. You often find toppings like shredded coconut sprinkled over them. A popular version is Woon Ma Plow or simply coconut jelly and, just like the ice cream, comes inside a coconut shell.
You take a slice of pumpkin, remove all the seeds, put some custard in it, boil the whole thing and – et voilà – you have one of the most unique Thai desserts. We, obviously, simplified the whole process, but essentially, this is it. It’s the next best thing you can get if you crave a nice Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.
Black Sesame Mochi Balls in Ginger Soup
The Thai cuisine is influenced by a number of countries and China stands at the forefront. Thanks to this synthesis we have this incredible dessert which, we assure you, you will love. The main part is the rice dumplings filled with black sesame seed paste. These are then served in a sweet and spicy ginger soup.
As you can imagine, this dish is highly popular in Bangkok’s Chinatown. So, if you need a break from all the sticky rice and coconuts, then make your way to Yaowarat road.
The End of The Sugar Rush
There are a plethora of Thai desserts you can indulge in, but these are our favorites. Every once in a while we like some candied fruits as well, just so that we can say we had fruits…
Anyway! As always, dear ladies and gentlemen, tell us all about the desserts you absolutely can’t live without whenever you are in Thailand. Let us know in the comments below!
Also, here is a fun challenge for you: If you manage to eat all of our favorite Thai desserts within one day, then take a picture (or multiple ones) or a video, put it on Instagram, tag us (#AdventureHardPartyHarder) and we will buy you a beer or a shot!